Tuesday, 27 December 2016

No help for me as I'm an Indian, says abducted Keralite priest in video


For the latest updates, visit #2016YemenAttack
No help for me as I'm an Indian, says abducted Keralite priest in video...

Read more at: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/keralite-priest-father-tom-uzhunnalil-appeals-indian-govt.html
No help for me as I'm an Indian, says abducted Keralite priest in video...

Read more at: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/keralite-priest-father-tom-uzhunnalil-appeals-indian-govt.html
No help for me as I'm an Indian, says abducted Keralite priest in video...

Read more at: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/keralite-priest-father-tom-uzhunnalil-appeals-indian-govt.html
No help for me as I'm an Indian, says abducted Keralite priest in video Monday 26 December 2016 08:...

Read more at: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/keralite-priest-father-tom-uzhunnalil-appeals-indian-govt.html

For the latest updates, visit #2016YemenAttack

Abducted Kerala priest appeals Pope, Centre to secure his release

Updated: Dec 26, 2016, 05.41 PM IST



KOCHI: An Indian Catholic priest abducted from Yemen this year appealed to Pope Francis and the Union government through a purported video to secure his release from his captors.

"If I were a European priest, I would have been taken more seriously. I am from India. I am perhaps not considered as of much value," said priest Father Tom Uzhunnalil in a weak voice in the video, aired by news channels in Kerala.

"Dear Pope Francis, dear Holy Father, as a father please take care of my life. I am very much depressed. My health is deteriorating," he said in the video, a day after Christmas.

Father Uzhunnalil, who looked very weak, appeared to be reading out from a text placed before him.

The veracity of the video, which was uploaded from You tube and Facebook, could neither be independently verified nor was the period when it was shot known.

Father Uzhunnalil, who hails from Kerala, was abducted in March by terror group Islamic State which attacked an old-age home run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in southern Yemeni city of Aden.

He claimed his captors have made many contacts with the government of India-- President and Prime Minister.

"I am very sad that nothing has been done seriously in my regard," he said.

He said reports had said everything has been done to get his release, "but in reality nothing" has been done.

Father Uzhunnalil said a news reporter abducted in the Middle East was released as she was from France.




"I am from India and not considered. Dear people, I pray you all, ask you all, beg you all to do your might to help me to save my life. I need hospitalisation soon. Please come to my help quickly," he said.

The Union Government has said efforts are being made to secure Uzhunnalil's release, but such attempts take time.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had informed Parliament that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has spoken to various countries through which contacts can be established in Yemen.

Swaraj had said it takes more time to secure release of people who are held captive and asked the MPs to keep "faith" in government's efforts to trace the abducted priest.

Govt won’t spare any effort to secure Father Tom’s release: Sushma Swaraj

Updated: December 27, 2016 10:23 am


Responding to a plea by Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, a Catholic priest under Islamic State’s captivity in Yemen, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday asserted that the government won’t spare any effort to secure the former’s release. “I have seen the video from Fr Tom. He is an Indian citizen and the life of every Indian is most precious for us. We got Fr Alex Prem Kumar and Judith D’Souza released from Afghanistan. We have spared no effort and we will spare no effort to secure Fr Tom’s release from captivity,” Sushma tweeted.

Father Tom, who hails from Kerala and works in a Church at Aden, in a video posted through web, appealed to the Government of India to release from his captors. “President and Prime Minister, I am sad nothing done seriously in my regard. If I was a European priest then I might have been taken more seriously by authorities and people would have got me released,” he said.

“I am from India and therefore I am perhaps not considered of much value, I’m sad. Dear Pope Francis, please take care of my life. I request my fellow human beings of different Governments to come forward and help me,” he added.
The video was posted on social media platforms yesterday, however, the veracity of the video couldn’t be independently verified. Father Tom was abducted by the terror group when it attacked an old-age home run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Aden in March. In Yemen, the fighting is going on with no central authority there.

UAE church 'working' for release of abducted Indian priest

Dec 30, 2016, 10.08 PM IST

DUBAI: A vicar in the UAE has said he has got "strong indications" to believe that Father Tom Uzhunnalil, the Indian priest who was abducted nearly nine months ago from war-torn Yemen, is alive, a media report said on Friday. The Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia said it is making "all efforts to secure a safe release" of the priest kidnapped from Aden in March, Khaleej Times reported.

A video of Uzhunnalil had surfaced this week in which he made an appeal to the Indian government, Pope Francis and Bishop Paul Hinder, to save his life. Hinder, who is based in Abu Dhabi, is the current Vicar Apostolic of the vicariate.

"The features of the person speaking in the video bear a close likeness to Father Tom. However, the source of the video, the date of its creation and the circumstances under which it was recorded are unknown. Even though we have no information about Father Tom's present whereabouts, we have strong indications to believe that he is still alive," the vicariate said in a statement. The church said it has made countless appeals from the highest levels to secure Uzhunnalil's release as well as made concrete efforts by way of working in close collaboration with both international and local diplomatic channels, it reported.

"Paul Hinder is in touch with the different channels, which are working and leading the dialogues to secure a safe release. More details cannot be disclosed at this stage," the statement said. The bishop has led calls for prayer throughout the churches in the vicariate for Uzhunnalil. During the Christmas mass, the bishop and thousands gathered at the cathedral parish of St Joseph's Abu Dhabi to pray for the priest's safety. "The Salesian Congregation to which Father Tom belongs and the Catholic Bishops Conference of India has been in touch with government channels," the statement added.
Fr Tom Uzhunnalil was asked not to go to Yemen: center...

Read more at: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/fr-tom-uzhunnalil-yemen-govt-instructions-mj-akbar.html
Fr Tom Uzhunnalil was asked not to go to Yemen: center...

Read more at: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/fr-tom-uzhunnalil-yemen-govt-instructions-mj-akbar.html

Fr Tom Uzhunnalil was asked not to go to Yemen: center...

Read more at: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/fr-tom-uzhunnalil-yemen-govt-instructions-mj-akbar.html
Fr Tom Uzhunnalil was asked not to go to Yemen: center...

Read more at: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/fr-tom-uzhunnalil-yemen-govt-instructions-mj-akbar.html
Fr Tom Uzhunnalil was asked not to go to Yemen: center...

Read more at: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/fr-tom-uzhunnalil-yemen-govt-instructions-mj-akbar.html
Minister of state for external affairs M.J. Akbar Wednesday said that the central government had ins...

Read more at: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/fr-tom-uzhunnalil-yemen-govt-instructions-mj-akbar.htmlMinister of state for external affairs M.J. Akbar Wednesday said that the central government had ins...
Minister of state for external affairs M.J. Akbar Wednesday said that the central government had instructed Kerala priest Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, who was kidnapped by terrorists in Yemen, to not go to that country. “Fr Uzhunnalil went to Yemen ignoring the government's instructions. We are yet to find out where he is and the efforts to rescue him are continuing,” Akbar told media.
“He might not have noticed our efforts to save him and that could have made him criticize the government,” the minister added.

Kids Write To PM Modi For Kidnapped Father Tom Uzhunnalil's Release

Updated: February 13, 2017 

Thiruvananthapuram:  Sixty tiny tots, dressed as infant Jesus, have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention for the early release of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Keralite priest who was kidnapped in Yemen last year by suspected ISIS militants.

The children, aged between four and five, belonging to the Sacred Heart Church at Kumbalangi near Kochi, handed over the letters written in Hindi, English and Malayalam to Ernakulam MP, Professor K V Thomas, who was present at the function. The children were helped by their parents and priests in writing the letters, a church source said. Thomas said he would hand over the letters to the Prime Minister as early as possible.

"I am planning to go to Delhi on Tuesday night and will try to get Mr Modi's appointment either on Wednesday or Friday," he said. "Parish priest and 20 other members are also coming to Delhi and we will try to meet the Prime Minister on Wednesday or Friday," he added

Editor's Note: Right-wing publication Swarajya Magazine has published an article criticising the church. Although it's controversial, a link to has been provided for the sake of inclusiveness.


Sushma asks visiting Yemeni minister to help with release of abducted priest Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil

July 12, 2017



External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday asked her visiting Yemeni counterpart Abdulmalik Abduljalil Al-Mekhlafi, to secure the safe and early release of abducted Indian priest Father Tom Uzhunnalil after being told he was still alive. In the meeting, Al-Mekhlafi conveyed that, according to available information, Uzhunnalil was alive and the Yemen government has been making all efforts to secure his release and assured all cooperation in this regard.

According to a statement by the External Affairs Ministry, Sushma Swaraj stressed India's concern for the safety and well-being of the priest who was abducted in March 2016 from Aden and reiterated the request for continued assistance from the Yemeni authorities in securing his safe and early release.

Uzhunnalil, who hails from Kerala, was abducted by the Islamic State terror group which attacked an old-age home run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Yemen's port city. In a video posted on a Yemeni news portal in May this year, he said: "They are treating me well to the extent they are able."

"My health condition is deteriorating quickly and I require hospitalisation as early as possible," said a frail-looking Uzhunnalil. Uzhunnalil said his kidnappers had contacted the Indian government and the Catholic bishop in Abu Dhabi with their demands, but the response was "not encouraging".
"My dear family people, do what you can to help me be released. Please, please do what you can to help to get me released. May God bless you for that," he said.

Meanwhile, the MEA statement also said that the visiting Minister appreciated India's steadfast support for Yemen during difficult times, including India's humanitarian assistance.
The nation has been virtually under siege since from 2015, when a coalition of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia attacked Shia Houthi rebels in that country who toppled the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. India executed Operation Raahat the same year in which over 5,500 Indian nationals and citizens of other countries were evacuated.

Freedom hope for priest in Yemen

After a team from the Salesian religious order met with India’s Minister of External Affairs to plead for the swift release of fellow Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil, kidnapped in Yemen more than a year ago, the minister reportedly told the group the priest is alive and could be released soon.
According to a report by the news site Matter India, the minister, Sushma Swaraj, said she feels for the “unimaginable trauma and suffering” Uzhunnalil has had to endure.
Uzhunnalil was kidnapped March 4, 2016, after suspected Islamic terrorists stormed a home for elderly people managed by the Missionaries of Charity nuns in the port city of Aden. The assailants shot dead 16 people, including four nuns, before kidnapping the priest, who served as chaplain of the house.
The priest belongs to Salesians of Don Bosco’s Bangalore province. He had been working as a missionary under Bishop Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of Southern Arabia.
In May, a video was released showing a cardboard sign with the date April 15, 2017, sitting on the lap of a thin-looking Uzhunnalil, who appeared with overgrown hair and a beard. In it, he begged Pope Francis for a personal intervention and expressed frustration that Church officials had not done more to secure his freedom.

“Dear Pope Francis…as a father, please take care of my life,” Uzhunnalil said, speaking slowly from a prepared script.

Pope Francis did appeal for the priest’s release April 10, 2016, after his Sunday Regina Coeli address in St. Peter’s Square.

“I renew my appeal for the freeing of all kidnapped persons in armed conflict zones,” the Pope said. “In particular, I wish to remember Salesian priest Tom Uzhunnalil, who was abducted in Aden, Yemen last March 4.” No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but it’s widely believed Islamic militants are behind it. Swaraj told the Salesian delegation that the Indian government has identified Uzhunnalil’s release as one of its highest priorities.

Besides Bangalore provincial Father Joyce Thonikuzhilyil, the team visiting the minister included vice provincial Father Jose Koyickal, Father George M.K., and Delhi provincial Father Jose Mathew. Father Anand David Xalxo from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India accompanied them.
According to the Matters India report, his meeting with Swaraj was arranged by Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Indian bishops’ conference.

Yemen has been embroiled in civil war since March 2015, when Shia rebels attempted to oust Yemen’s Sunni-led government. Saudi Arabia has led a pro-government coalition. Both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have set up strongholds in the country amid the power vacuum. More than 6,000 people have been killed in the conflict, according to the United Nations. Since Uzhunnalil’s kidnapping, Salesians in the Bangalore province of India have continued efforts for his safety and release, including holding a prayer vigil Jan. 4 and a worldwide novena Jan. 15-23.


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